Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970's Volume 2
Re-live your childhood with this collection of 12 cartoons featuring some of the following beloved characters: Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Shazzan, Yogi's Gang, Banana Splits and many more!
While the animation style of the episodes collected here somehow manages to be stiffer than in Hanna-Barbera's previous decade of cartoons, the characters featured in Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s, Volume 2 have more depth and energy than some of their 1960s slapstick counterparts. In the 1970s more people continued to examine race, gender, and class questions, and Hanna-Barbera explored those issues through some of their cartoons. Disc 1 opens with "Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch," starring some bears with a wide enough variety of hair that they could have inspired the musical. In "New Adventures of Gilligan" (with Gilligan's new pet monkey Snubby a lame change from the live-action show), Gilligan and his pals gang up against the Howells when they try to build an elitist resort on the castaways' island. "Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan" stars a Chinese family who sleuth almost as well as Scooby-Doo's crew. "Sea Lab 2020" is a science-oriented educational cartoon about an underwater commune. Disc 2 offers some flops, like "Valley of the Dinosaurs," which paved the way for Jurassic Park (though Sid and Marty Krofft did much better with Land of the Lost). And "Grape Ape" features one of the most idiotic cartoon characters out there. But spliced between episodes of the still-classic "Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show," the bad cartoons can be forgotten. Bugs Bunny and his sometimes-accomplice, sometimes-antagonist duck pal, Daffy, are a wonderfully clever pair. The real highlight in Hanna-Barbera's 1970s dossier, though, is "Shazzan," in which two kids, Chuck and Nancy, discover a magic ring that harnesses a genie. The kids navigate Persian fantasy worlds illustrated with as much mystical imagination as the animated scenes in The Thief of Baghdad. With such variety, and the dynamism Hanna-Barbera achieved with scripts that tapped into then-current social and political issues, a lighthearted "Yogi's Gang" or "Tom and Jerry" episode mixed in here and there doesn't feel too weak. --Trinie Dalton
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